Opinion: The Clinton congratulation watch


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Barack Obama has had to ride out a few rounds of criticism over a perceived lack of good manners. Today, the Hillary Clinton camp was dealing with similar reproaches.

It did not go unnoticed that in a public appearance Tuesday night, Clinton failed to offer the slightest salute to Obama over his lopsided wins in the ‘Potomac’ primaries. After Clinton spoke at a large rally in El Paso and neglected to give a nod to the results in Maryland, Virginia and D.C., the estimable James Fallows of Atlantic magazine pointed out the omission in this blog posting.

Also after Clinton’s speech, CNN posted an item on its Political Ticker that began, ‘For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama after he won the day in dominating fashion.’ (She had been similarly silent over the weekend, when Obama thumped her in a series of other contests in the Democratic presidential race.)


The subject was broached today with Clinton’s communications chief, Howard Wolfson, during a conference call with reporters. The Times’ Peter Nicholas reports that Wolfson replied, ‘She congratulated him this morning.’ He did not provide details.

A small matter, these common courtesies. But usually, one ignores them at his or her peril.

-- Don Frederick

UPDATE -- Clinton gave her rival his due today during a press availability in Texas, extending her congratulations and adding that she was ready to do battle with him in that state’s March 4 primary. ‘This is the exciting part of the campaign,’ she said. ‘Where you really get down to saying, ‘OK, what are the differences? How do we draw the distinctions?’ ‘